While Microsoft has already had music, TV show, and movie content on offer via the Windows Store, one niche remains a no-show on its online shop: ebooks. The good news is that this will soon change. The latest Windows 10 Creators Update build revealed the software giant’s plan to fill that hole in the near future.
Microsoft has added an ebook section to the Windows Store. However, it’s not a dedicated page but will only be integrated into the Edge browser, which will provide users the ability to read electronic books. After purchasing your e-books, you’ll find them in your Books library, which is a new hub entry in Microsoft Edge next to your favorites, history, downloads and reading list. For the time being, this new feature is only available to US Insiders.
Reading books using a web browser, however, is an unfamiliar experience for many users, so it’s interesting to see how Microsoft intends to attract consumers to its ebook content from rivals like Amazon.
With the ebook section, users will be able to modify the font and size of the text and create bookmarks. The new ebook section will be available on Windows 10 Mobile and other Windows 10 versions for PCs and tablets. The general public will be able to access the new ebook section in April, when it ships with the Windows 10 Creators Update.
Here’s how Microsoft describes the new native ebook experience:
- “Interactive reading experience: To navigate through an e-book, you can use the table of contents or seek bar at the bottom of the browser. You can search for words or phrases and ask Cortana to define specific words and view embedded video and audio content. And of course, pick up where you left of and leave bookmarks on the most interesting pages. You can even read your books when offline.
- Learning tools: You can widen text spacing to improve reading fluency and benefit from typography tailored to reading efficiency.
- Customize for you: Microsoft Edge is built for reading digital content on Windows 10 devices. You can make the reading experiences yours by changing the font and text size, themes, navigation control and more.
- EPUB support: In addition to PDF files and books purchased via the Store – you can read any unprotected e-book in the EPUB file format with Microsoft Edge.”
The ebook update is part of Microsoft’s effort to expand its offerings as a content provider. The addition of ebooks is simply a natural, though long overdue, step toward that goal. Last year, Microsoft added support for the EPUB ebook format to Edge, a move that was a harbinger for the coming ebook addition.